Senior defenseman Eric Knodel scores two power-play goals for Wildcats

Senior defenseman Eric Knodel scored two power-play goals for the Wildcats

DURHAM, N.H. - Kevin Goumas (Long Beach, N.Y.) and Trevor van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.) recorded three points apiece to lead the University of New Hampshire men's hockey team to Friday night's 6-3 non-conference victory against the University of Nebraska Omaha at the Whittemore Center.

UNH won its second consecutive game to improve to 11-10-1 while Omaha, which had not played since Dec. 7 (3-3 tie at Colorado College), is now 8-8-1. The Wildcats and Mavericks conclude the two-game series Jan. 4 (7 p.m.) at the Whittemore Center.

Goumas tallied a goal and two assists and van Riemsdyk finished with three assists to lead four Wildcats with multiple points; overall, 10 'Cats had at least one point. Eric Knodel (West Chester, Pa.) scored a career-high two goals and Nick Sorkin (Rockville, Md.) was credited with two assists. Both Collin Bourque (Goffstown, N.H.) and Dylan Maller (Parkland, Fla.) recorded first career point with one assist apiece.

UNH goalie Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.) finished with 21 saves. Omaha starter Ryan Massa exited the game at 17:54 of the second period when New Hampshire took a 5-2 lead. He stopped 20 shots. Kirk Thompson went the rest of the way and did not allow a goal in a nine-save effort - the Wildcats' sixth goal was scored into an empty net with 1:42 remaining.

Josh Archibald scored twice for the visitors.

After yielding the game's first goal, UNH rallied to score a pair of power-play goals and take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. Omaha took a 1-0 lead at 3:34 when Archibald corralled a loose puck in the slot and rifled a shot into the net. The scoring sequence initiated with Michael Young's pass from the left point across to Ian Brady at the right point. Brady's blast ricocheted off teammate Jake Guentzel in the slot to Archibald.

Knodel netted power-play goals at 9:20 and 19:28 to transform a one-goal deficit into a one-goal advantage. On the first strike, van Riemsdyk set up Knodel's initial shot from the left point that was stopped by Massa. The Mavericks' attempted clear was stopped by van Riemsdyk at the blue line and he once again slipped the puck to Knodel, whose slap shot from the high slot sailed into the left side of the cage.

Knodel scored on another slap shot from the high slot - this time beating Massa's glove to the right side of the net - with 32 seconds remaining in the first period. Goumas, with the pass from the right circle to Knodel, and Sorkin, with the diagonal pass from the left wing to Goumas, were credited with assists.

Omaha pulled even, 2-2, at 4:15 of the second stanza when Austin Ortega's wrist shot from the right faceoff dot found the upper-right corner. Ryan Walters and Brock Montpetit set up the tally.

The 'Cats responded with three consecutive goals to take a 5-2 lead into the second intermission. Matt Willows (Congers, N.Y.) finished a tic-tac-toe sequence to give New Hampshire a lead it would not relinquish, 3-2, at 12:18. Bourque led the attack with a pass to Matt Willows (Congers, N.Y.) up the middle. Willows flipped the puck to Goumas on the left wing and redirected his return centering pass into the goal.

Dan Correale (Prince George, British Columbia) and Casey Thrush (Easton, Md.) potted goals less than two minutes apart - at 15:56 and 17:54 - to extend the advantage to three goals. Correale collected Justin Agosta's (East Meadow, N.Y.) pass in the slot, dragged the puck to his backhand and shoveled the puck into the net. Maller, who moved the puck from the left point to right for Agosta, was also credited with an assist.

Thrush also deked Massa in the low slot before depositing the puck into the net for the 5-2 lead. He collected a long outlet pass from van Riemsdyk, who had intercepted a pass in the neutral zone.

UNH, already 2-for-4 on the power play, gained a five-minute man advantage when an Omaha skater was whistled for a major contact to the head infraction at 18:09 of the second period. The 'Cats did not capitalize on that advantage, however, and the Mavericks trimmed the deficit to 5-3 at 7:17 of the final frame when Archibald blocked a shot to set up his own breakaway down the slot.

Omaha lifted Thompson in favor of an extra skater with 2:18 on the clock but New Hampshire scored into an empty net 36 seconds later - at 18:18 - to reestablish a three-goal lead and secure the victory. van Riemsdyk's outlet pass from the defensive zone went to Sorkin, whose forward pass found Goumas and he flipped a shot from the middle of the blue line into the cage.

For Saturday's game, The UNH Athletic Ticket Office will allow any fan that couldn't make it to tonight's game to exchange their unused tickets at the Whittemore Center Box Office tomorrow for tomorrow night's game. The Whittemore Center Box Office opens at 5pm tomorrow for a 7pm start.